Research and policy for the food-delivery revolution Implications for nutrition, environment, and work may be considerable
August 18, 2022 - Author: Eva-Marie Meemken, Marc F. Bellemare, Thomas Reardon, Carolina M. Vargas
Meemken, E-M., M.F. Bellemare, T. Reardon, C.M. Vargas. (2022). Research and policy for the food-delivery revolution. Science. 377(6608): 810-813.
Globally, consumers have increasingly been getting the meals they consume delivered by third parties such as Doordash, Grubhub, Wolt, or Uber Eats. This trend is attributable to broader changes in food systems and technological and institutional innovation (such as apps and digital platforms and the increased reliance on third parties for food delivery) and has sharply accelerated as a consequence of the lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (1, 2). Global revenues for the online food delivery sector were about $90 billion in 2018, rose to $294 billion in 2021, and are expected to exceed $466 billion by 2026 (3). The consequences and policy implications of this “delivery revolution” remain poorly understood but deserve greater attention. We offer an overview of the drivers of the revolution and discuss implications for the environment, nutrition, and decent work, as well as recently implemented and potential policy options to address those consequences.